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Himanshu Suri, aka HEEMS, is one-half of the rap duo Swet Shop Boys (along with actor Riz Ahmed, aka Riz MC), budding cook, and longtime activist. The Punjabi-Indian-American emcee was born in Queens, where he currently resides. From 2008-2012, he was part of the rap group Das Racist, formed during his time at Wesleyan University. In 2010, they appeared in the holiday special of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, where they’re featured performing in Bourdain’s refrigerator.

His solo career kicked off in 2012 with the Nehru Jackets mixtape, released in collaboration with Queens-based community organization SEVA NY, where Suri sits on the board. In addition releasing his first solo album, Eat Pray Thug in 2015, he teamed up with Riz MC and producer Redinho for the Swet Shop EP in 2014, followed by the debut album Cashmere in 2016.

Heems stopped by the Highsnobiety offices to chat about his recent performance at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival, Asian-American identity, and how the Internet has made it easier for activists to act on their ideals.

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